Cultural Ecology of Bear Baiting in North America

Authors: Ryan Lennon*,
Topics: Animal Geographies, Cultural Ecology, Biogeography
Keywords: Animal geography, cultural ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Maurepas, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Human attitudes toward nature can be shown to be related to hunting policy. What I hope to show is that bear hunting policy and practices in North America have been related to cultural traditions in ways that are unrelated to environmental conservation policy in the United States and Canada. Currently, bear baiting is a practice that is only legal in 5 states in the United States. Historically, it has been done in many more geographic areas and historical records suggest that it first started in England. The movement of this tradition in American culture has also been closely tied to wolf hunting culture. In Wisconsin we see a unique case where wolf management policy is largely affected by bear hunting practices. What I hope to show is that the cultural ecology of bear hunting has been the cause for a recent increase in wolf depredations by performing spatial analysis of data obtained from state agencies as well as non-profit groups. I will be looking at the locations of bear baiting and comparing these with spatial information on wolf depredations. This analysis will show how bear baiting practices affect wolf populations and behavior in the wild, and can influence cultural attitudes toward wildlife.

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